As 2016 draws to a close, even if I didn’t want to be reminded of it, FB ensures I am—to music! Not Prince, Cohen’s or Bowie’s, which might have been apt.
My year was busy! As the photos change (please share this says FB…really?) I wonder how I fitted it all in; Dangerous to Know came out in Australia, Medea’s Curse in London. Book events in Australia, UK and Sharjah (and a few others as I tagged along with my husband). Plenty of frequent flyer points…which we’ll use up for the family holiday in France next year (which will also be the time of Dangerous to Know coming out in UK).
At this time of year lots of people are coming out with their top reads for 2016 so I thought I’d do mine, along with some other highs…and lows. I’ve been writing not one but two books (due out 2017) so I haven’t read maybe as many as usual, but still over 100, probably 150, to choose from. So here goes.
The impossible question. What criteria? The one I couldn’t put down, can’t forget, had the best writing or best characters or best plot? I have only just realized I’ve not read Tana French’s latest book which is likely to tick all of these boxes (how the hell did I miss it?) – if so it would most likely been that. I may still finish it before the year is over and have to change this post!
So at risk of spending too long thinking about it (and upsetting some friends) I’ll take the easy option—competently written, but its non-fiction: A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Kleibold. It is unlikely I’ll ever forget it; some 16 years after Columbine shooting, the mother of one of the teenage perpetrator’s (who also suicides) reviews the toll this horrific crime took. It is thoughtful and considered; she feels responsible though by any rational evaluation of this book, if so, it was by being or trying too hard to be the perfect parent, and certainly not through any malicious intent. She lost her son, I expect her other son will never be the same, and it destroyed her marriage. What she learns about grief and recovery is illuminating, and though I would have liked more about the other teenager involved, and thought some of her conclusions were limited by her mind set (and she avoids tackling the gun issue but is clearly anti-gun and they never had one in the house—I think she had to in order to avoid backlash from the NRA), this is a book that cannot but help make you think.
Nicest Unofficial Review (my book)
Psychiatrist colleague at Christmas party: ‘God, when’s the next book coming out? I need to know what happens!’
Funniest Unofficial Review (Graeme’s book)
KW (friend)…when she got to the sex scene on the audio version of The Best of Adam Sharp she nearly had a car accident as she was trying to put her fingers in her ears. No amount of saying the characters aren’t us seemed to help…
Nicest Author to Have Drink with Overseas
Gavin Extence The Universe Versus Alex Woods. We were in a young person’s type bar that husband Graeme had talked our way into (past security) in Cheltenham and Gavin’s a young person ( Isuspect why they let us in)…he made us feel young again…actually he reminded us of sleep deprivation from young children and how being young isn’t everything! (The cocktails were great too).
Nicest Overseas Author to Have a Drink with in Australia
Midge Raymond My Last Continent. Bonus was she gave us details of a great writer’s retreat off the coast of Washington State. Now we just have to find time to get there!
Hardest Book Event
Sharjah Book Fair…with an Egyptian lawyer and a Pakistani cop…everything in Arabic…and we had run late because the traffic was execrable!!! The question, with genuine bemusement—why would anyone want to read a crime thriller?
And no alcohol to calm me down afterwards…
Most Interesting Book Event
Cheltenham—the strange crossover where I was playing thriller author and psychiatrist at the same time with audience questions. Last time this happened the other author was also a psychiatrist so I had help!
Okay now – bring on 2017!